Analysis of John Knowle's A Separate Peace, and William Golding's The Lord of the Flies

Analysis of John Knowle's A Separate Peace, and William Golding's The Lord of the Flies

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Civilization versus savagery, order versus chaos, reason versus impulse, law versus anarchy, or simply good versus evil infinitely describe the dreadful encounters of humanity. Every battle, every political struggle, every account of internal strife embodies these conflicts. World War II demonstrates the key clash of good versus evil within society, being the most deadly, destructive and consequential war in history. After beginning in 1939, the war raged for six more years. The war’s estimated fatalities reach as high as 70 million, opening everyone’s eyes. Two significantly influenced individuals were John Knowles and William Golding, who wrote novels in response to World War II. Concerning Knowles, he joined the war effort as a part of the U.S. Army Air Force’s Aviation Cadet Program. Knowles’ novel A Separate Peace alludes to his view of World War II. Also, Knowles’ novel found its genesis in the author’s own experiences with discovering the emotional truth in his life. The story depicts a young man overcoming his immature and malicious ways through the death of a friend. Knowles acknowledges that he modeled Gene Forrester, the narrator, after himself and that Phineas, Gene’s friend, was modeled after Knowles’ own classmate. Similarly, Golding also demonstrates the dark side of human nature in his novel, Lord of the Flies. Golding’s novel focuses on a group of innocent boys that crash on a deserted island, causing them to fall into conflict and chaos. Golding’s pessimism regarding human nature derives from his experience in the Navy during World War II, where he served on mine sweepers, destroyers, and cruisers. Ultimately, both Knowles’ A Separate Peace and Golding’s Lord of the Flies display the themes of in...


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...cence fall prey to the evil within the novel, demonstrating the corruption of innocence. Knowles and Golding responded to World War II with a novel presenting the darkness of human nature, as the terrors of World War II surpassed all others. However, even today examples of inherent human savagery can be witnessed. People still find joy in the pain of others, similar to Jack and the hunters. For instance, people enjoy violent sports and laugh at the misfortune of others. Moreover, people act self-centered and abandon the needs of others. These selfish actions are not only committed but supported. Many television shows base their plots on personal gain. Competitors have to be willing to sacrifice their follow man for their own personal gain and survival. Perhaps, modern civilization closely resembles the evils within the groups of boys in these novels.


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